The VPP was created nearly 30 years ago and now includes more than 2,200 work sites. Officials say participating workplaces have average illness and injury rates 50 percent below that of their industries.
VPP recognizes employers that have implemented effective safety and health management systems and maintain injury and illness rates below Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries. Management, labor, and OSHA work cooperatively within participating organizations to prevent fatalities, injuries, and illnesses through a focus on hazard prevention and control, work site analysis, training, and management commitment and involvement.
Employers must apply and undergo on-site evaluations by a team of safety and health professions to qualify. Participants are exempt from OSHA programmed inspections while they retain their VPP status.
H.R. 1511 would expand the program to include more small businesses. One provision directs the secretary of labor to increase participation by small businesses through outreach and assistance initiatives and the development of program requirements that address the needs of small businesses.
The legislation would bar any administration from requiring payment from an employer to qualify for or participate in VPP. Requiring payment would result in fewer employers engaging with OSHA and implementing injury and illness protection programs, according to the American Society of Safety Engineers.
The legislation was introduced by Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., and Sen. Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., in April and referred to a legislative committee. The democratic cosponsors are Rep. Gene Green, Texas, and Sen. Mary Landrieu, La.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
June 20, 2011
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